Healthcare & AP Automation: What You May Be Overlooking

There is a lot of attention these days in healthcare on large, high-volume process-centric systems for things like claims processing or medical records. But one very important process that all healthcare organizations must manage is the Accounts Payable (AP) process.

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Four key advantages of automated AP processing includes reducing procure-to-pay time, capturing early payment discounts, improving vendor and customer relations, and gaining greater business insight.

Reducing procure-to-pay time
Automation systems help healthcare AP departments accelerate productivity by capturing and routing invoices automatically.  Invoices are indexed, classified, matched, and directly transferred into your ERP system. Therefore, manual data entry is eliminated and procure-to-pay time is reduced.

Capturing early payment discounts
AP automation helps healthcare organizations increase profitability by taking advantage of early pay discount incentives. Invoices are processed more quickly since AP staff has access to all records they need to pay promptly and capture more discounts.

Improving vendor and customer relations
AP automation helps ensure vendor satisfaction by managing, processing, and paying vendor invoices faster and with more accuracy. And since documents are quickly and easily searchable across the organization, vendor and customer inquiries are answered more quickly and more precisely.

Gaining greater business insight
AP automation helps healthcare CFOs more accurately predict financial outcomes because it provides greater visibility into the process. Since all the related content is stored, searched, and accessed from one centralized location, financial managers have a more complete and immediate view.

Regulatory Compliance & Security

Once you begin to understand how AP automation makes a difference in healthcare you need to address regulatory compliance and security issues.

A recent article at Healthcare IT News discusses the serious issue of remote access attacks and the ease at which hackers can gain access to electronic information – including the payment environment.

Recent attack trends show that cyber thieves have been shifting focus to healthcare due to the lucrative nature of patient health information on the black market. According to a 2015 Ponemon Institute study, medical identity theft incidents increased 21.7 percent since 2014.

Organizations that deal in data that are subject to regulatory guidelines—that’s most data, really— should know what those guidelines are and should have the policies and tools in place to ensure that those rules and regulations are met. However, if the selected vendor doesn’t have the right safeguards in place, the burden of the failure doesn’t fall to the vendor: it falls to the organization that chose the vendor.

That may seem like a high burden of responsibility for a healthcare company, but with a few key considerations regarding the vendor you partner with as well as direct discussions regarding how the vendor plans to ensure that regulatory guidelines are met, you should better be able to implement a risk mitigated path towards greater AP and bottom-line benefits. Your software partner must not only understand the benefits of AP automation but must understand the regulatory guidelines of the healthcare industry.